Md. police chief commends officers after takedown goes viral

WASHINGTON — A Maryland police chief is praising his officers after their takedown of a man believed to be under the influence of PCP was recorded and posted online.

“I commend the officers for exercising extreme restraint,” said David Morris, chief of the Riverdale Park Police Department.

Morris said officers responded to a McDonald’s after they received a call about a man who appeared to be hallucinating, arguing with himself and throwing chairs.

The video, which was posted to YouTube on Sept. 4, shows one officer telling the man to “get on the ground.” Seconds later, the officer uses a Taser, but the Taser appears to not faze him. As other officers arrive to help, a baton is also used on the man, but that fails to stop him.

Morris said the man continuing to struggle, and the fact that several tactics used by the officers failed to subdue him, are clear signs of someone under the influence of PCP.

“They are oblivious to pain, hence the superhuman strength,” Morris said.

The chief said the video shows the difficulty the officers had in getting the man’s hands behind his back. After one officer tried to tackle the man, he was hit with another officer’s Taser and soon after, pepper spray was used.

While the three officers tried to put handcuffs on the man, customers in the busy McDonald’s were seen crowding the windows to watch.

After finally falling on the ground, the man was placed in handcuffs and an ambulance was called for him. The chief said his officers resorted to their training while attempting to take the man into custody.

“They used less lethal force to try to take this guy into custody, to get him to the hospital and arguably saved his life,” Morris said.

Morris says if the officers would have used a hands-on approach, it would have resulted in a wrestling match with the officer’s weapons in close proximity to the man.

The chief said his department is seeing more and more cases involving PCP use.

“We are seeing a resurgence of this [PCP use] and with that resurgence a level of violence and resistance by the individuals that are using it,” Morris said.

The chief said he has reached out to his officers to commend them for their response. Morris also thanked the person who posted the video with a description of what he had witnessed.

“He didn’t allow it to go viral without explaining clearly what he observed,” Morris said.

Morris said there were no injuries to customers in the McDonald’s or the officers involved. The man was seen bleeding at the end of the video. Morris said the blood came from the man hitting the door of the restaurant, after an officer tried to tackle him. The injury to the man, the chief said, was minor.

Editor’s Note: The video below contains graphic language and content.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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